J4P has been involved in a long-running review of the dispute systems put in place by the Gambling Commission. This working party was formed after the Gambling Commission reported that ADRs weren’t fit for purpose. What the review will conclude and when it will be published is a mystery to J4P and we will not be allowing our name to be used unless we are allowed to comment and are happy with its contents.
The case that follows here outlines exactly why the gambling industry needs new systems for disputes and probably the establishment of an independent ombudsman.
05-08-2016 (the dispute had already been going on 3-years when we were contacted)
I was looking at some footage online and saw your email appear on a chat forum regarding some dodgy Cheltenham behaviour from bookies.
I have just been given some unfair treatment from an online casino called ******* (****** group) and it got me thinking as you guys seem to communicate on a personal level, as I am getting absolutely no feedback from the casino in my case.
I am basically owed £*,*** (over five grand) since September 2013 !!!! Crazy I know! In that time they never once said they were not paying me but just asked for endless ID checks… up to now I have given this casino the following;
1) photo ID
2) proof of address
3) signed a deposit confirmation form that was posted to me and sent back to them
4) selfie ID of me holding my photo ID
5) selfie ID of me holding a recent newspaper
6) confirmation of how I funded my account
Then the last part, they wanted to see how I funded my account…********** point blank told them that was a breach of privacy…however then the casino then contacted ********** direct to discuss the good standing of my account. This went on for almost 8 weeks and just last week the casino told me that they could not properly verify the identity of the account and the account would remain closed and balance seized.
So after all of the above 6 ID requests which were received and accepted they still cannot verify my identity !!!
I still have not been given an actual reason why and do not feel like I will get one unless you know anyone at this company in the ‘big office’ so to speak who I can contact.
Thanks for any help you can provide.
p.s. I also contacted (**ADR**) and a guy called ********* who was utterly useless.
During 2016 – Stunning help from the ADR
If you recall at the beginning of this I informed you that we do not handle disputes over 1-year-old, but as a courtesy I contacted the operator to make them aware of your situation and nothing more.
As far as I am aware this is still being investigated by the operator and as such you will need to contact them directly for an update.
During 2016 a court procedure was started
I thank you for your patience regarding this matter.
I have received confirmation that the notice of issue is being returned to you via post.
Furthermore, the head office confirmed receipt of the court documents and you shall receive a response in due course.
More requests for intrusive information with a veiled threat that going to court without providing more information to the casino might mean the person loses in court.
Awaiting your reply.
J4P decides to involve the Gambling Commission (GC)
I give you written permission for you to escalate my query with the senior directors at the Gambling Commission in regards to my dispute with ********* Casino.
The GC is supportive:
“I am very much interested in this case and some of the issues it raises. Based on the information provided, my personal view is that this doesn’t appear to be in keeping with our expectations on how operators should treat customers. Therefore, I will feed this information into relevant compliance colleagues, but as you are aware, as a policy, we do not provide information on the initiation or progress of any regulatory investigations, but if we do the outcomes will be made public.”
…but as is well known they can’t help in individual cases and they can’t provide advice of any sort relating to the casino breaking any licensing rules.
The frustration of the delays
It’s now a waiting game; mainly waiting for company appointed lawyers to come up with anything they can think of to delay the case going to court, e.g. you can’t claim against a company that isn’t based in England and Wales (nonsense), the forms are inaccurate, we need more time to prepare our defence, we’re applying for set-aside (another delaying tactic), etc.
And on we go………….
The ADR won’t/can’t help. The GC won’t/can’t help. The person is on their own against a corporation and their lawyers. Luckily, this person could afford legal advice. The person became frightened, who wouldn’t fighting alone, so a Barrister was appointed, but the person is now incurring costs.
Many months go by.
Hi JJ !!
Yes I won and my Barrister managed to recoup his fees/the hearing fee and claim form fee back as well despite it being listed to the small claims track.
I basically sent the defendants legal counsel my paginated bundle on Friday and a few hours later they emailed to say they were not instructed to defend their client and would not be in attendance at the hearing which was great news.
I went to the hearing on Monday and as the Defendant and legal counsel did not show up the judge ordered in favour of me and will force judgement on ********* Group.
Thanks JJ for your help.
Have you been paid?
Yes I got paid pretty much instantly.
What’s been learnt?
- Nothing positive, except the person won.
- There is a Claim Reference Number from the court, but this can’t be used officially in future cases. What the company did was really clever, by not turning up in court after messing somebody about for just under five years it means the Claim Reference Number is purely for administrative purposes only. This action ‘capped off’ nearly five years of bad behaviour.
- Customer service at this casino was awful, like so many gambling companies.
- The ADR system is useless.
- The GC lacks power.
- It is impossible to look at this case and conclude anything but, “Oh what a mess.” Hopefully, at some point the GC will complete an investigation into the information they have and fine the casino as well – we’ll see.
- And finally, let’s hope we’re going to see major changes to the dispute systems in the future; this mess can’t go on.